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Woman Reunited With Family After 50 Years Following Memory Loss

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Celestine Gandy Thompson is reunited with her family after 50 years following memory loss from a fire.

Celestine Gandy Thompson

Reported by April Taylor

Celestine Gandy Thompson left her home in Southern Mississippi in 1957 when she was just 14-years-old.  She settled in Buffalo, New York where she lived for more than three decades.  In 1992, Thompson survived a fire but was in a coma for nearly two years as a result of her injuries.  Upon waking up, Thompson had trouble regaining her memory of her life before the fire and could not remember any details about her family or where she was from.

Thompson reports on a conversation she had with a woman regarding her memory loss.  She states, “The girl asked me, she said, ‘How long has it been, and did you ever find any of your biological family?’  I said ‘No baby, I wouldn’t know where to start.’  She said, ‘Just give me a name,’ and his name [Thompson’s nephew Clarence Woolard] popped up in my head.  So she went into the phone and she found him, and that’s just how this came together.”  Woolard was the only person Thompson could remember.

Once he was contacted, Woolard spread the news to other family members that Thompson was alive and well, and the family planned a reunion.  After more than 50 years of separation, Thompson was finally reunited with her family.  Thompson’s niece Helen Woodward states, “I’ve been thinking about her and wondering would I ever see her again.  Would I ever get in contact again, but I was overwhelmed when I heard from her.  I was joyful.  I was very joyful.”

Thompson states, “It’s a blessing.  I prayed for this day.  That the good Lord would let me live long enough for this day to come together to be with my family again.”  Thompson is now living in Greensboro, Alabama.  Since being reunited with her family, she has learned that she has a total of 23 nieces and nephews, 64 grand nieces and nephews, 66 great-grand nieces and nephews and 34 great-great-grand nieces and nephews.



  1. Leo Thomas third gen.

    July 8, 2014 at 3:21 am

    God Bless!

  2. Clarissa Bennet

    July 8, 2014 at 7:48 am

    This woman left home at 14 years old in 1957 which would mean she was born sometime in 1943. She cannot be 90 years old in 2014 she has to be 71 years old. If she was in a coma for two years from 1992 why was she not in contact with her family for 25 years before that from 1957 to 1992? There is so much missing from this story and of course the wrong age by about 20 years. Don’t people do any fact checking before they write these stories???

    • Shy

      July 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

      There had to be some reason she didn’t contact the family, maybe some bad memories, or someone did something to her. She never even had children of her own and was gone 25 years before the accident. No one else in the family may never know the reason, but at least she doesn’t have to die not knowing where she came from. She must have been very fond of her nephew to call out his name after 50 years.

    • Anike

      July 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      @ITA. How is it she wasn’t in contact with her family for over thrity years while she lived in NY?
      Had she never married or had children? This article is too bereft of facts.

  3. Bagchi

    July 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

    @Anastasis , You need your head check. There is something in your brain that is not connected.

  4. ericaf

    July 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

    # ignoreAnastasia. She’s a troll . She comments on everything negatively about black people. If no one responds to her disrespectful comments she will eventually go away. Stop feeding the beast. Happy the family is together again and may have an opportunity to fix whatever caused the separation.

  5. moonhead

    July 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I don’t mean to pick, but if you subtract 1992 from 1957 that’s 35 years not 25. Also, something is really wrong with this story. The story says that she has been reunited with her family after 50 years since her memory loss in 1992. Well, she has only had memory loss for less than 26 years. So how come she didn’t remember or contact her family for the 24+years before her memory loss, and why did she contact them now?

  6. miss Bo$$ie

    July 9, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    This story is lacking information and I try not believe everything I read from this site,the editor act as if they have MEMORY LOSS too.

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